<![CDATA[One important cultural difference in the study participants around the issue of conflict avoidance was observed between white American and black American women. Scholars note that because of differences in experience historically, many African American women are not conflict avoidant and value directness. During the time of slavery in the United States, white women were treated as too frail and dainty to undertake physical labor, while black women were treated as beasts of burden and subjected to the same demeaning labor and hardships as black men. Patricia Hill Collins, a black feminist scholar, explains that African American women learned to place a “high value on personal expressiveness” and directness as a survival mechanism. These differences in direct versus indirect confrontation styles can mean that African American women often feel that white American women are dishonest or uninterested in meaningful engagement with them because the white women are reserved and subdued in both what they say and how they say it. The cultures of these two groups have been shaped by very different historical forces; consequently, members of these two groups are particularly vulnerable to misunderstandings with each other. An excerpt from my book, New Rules for Women, available at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982056982/).]]>
1 thought on “Cultural Differences and Conflict Avoidance”
This short, pithy excerpt speaks volumes. It is so helpful to me to have this historical/cultural difference so succintly summarized.
It makes me want to go back and revise our article about White Women against Racism. Thanks for the inspiration.